- to prick or wound with a sharp-pointed, often venom-bearing organ.
- to affect painfully or irritatingly as a result of contact, as certain plants do: to be stung by nettles.
- to cause to smart or to cause a sharp pain: The blowing sand stung his eyes.
- to cause mental or moral anguish: to be stung with remorse.
- to goad or drive, as by sharp irritation.
- Slang. to cheat or take advantage of, especially to overcharge; soak.
- to use, have, or wound with a sting, as bees.
- to cause a sharp, smarting pain, as some plants, an acrid liquid or gas, or a slap or hit.
- to cause acute mental pain or irritation, as annoying thoughts or one's conscience: The memory of that insult still stings.
- to feel acute mental pain or irritation: He was stinging from the blow to his pride.
- to feel a smarting pain, as from a blow or the sting of an insect.
- an act or an instance of stinging.
- a wound, pain, or smart caused by stinging.
- any sharp physical or mental wound, hurt, or pain.
- anything or an element in anything that wounds, pains, or irritates: to feel the sting of defeat; Death, where is thy sting?
- capacity to wound or pain: Satire has a sting.
- a sharp stimulus or incitement: driven by the sting of jealousy; the sting of ambition.
- Botany. a glandular hair on certain plants, as nettles, that emits an irritating fluid.
- Zoology. any of various sharp-pointed, often venom-bearing organs of insects and other animals capable of inflicting painful or dangerous wounds.
- confidence game.
- an ostensibly illegal operation, as the buying of stolen goods or the bribing of public officials, used by undercover investigators to collect evidence of wrongdoing.
Origin of sting
Related Words for stingbite, inspire, hurt, burn, poke, injure, electrify, needle, wound, prickle, pique, tingle, smart
Examples from the Web for sting
Contemporary Examples of sting
Sting took over the lead role to try to draw an audience, but his thumpingly inspirational score was already the hero of the show.Hedwig, Hugh & Michael Cera: 12 Powerhouse Theater Performances of 2014
December 31, 2014
And unless Republicans start pursuing very different priorities in Congress, that prognosis could sting.GOP Senate Can't Resist a ‘War on Women’
November 11, 2014
Now Sting gets his turn, with this musical that he based on his own experiences growing up near a shipyard.Fall Broadway Preview: 'This Is Our Youth,' Bradley Cooper as ‘The Elephant Man,' and More
September 11, 2014
Strangely, he did this by diluting the sting of the ant scene.Whit Stillman on the 20th Anniversary of ‘Barcelona’, His New Amazon Series, and the Myth of the Ugly Expat
August 10, 2014
Note to Sting: An “albatross” in this context is more like “tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt.”Sting and Hillary Are Just Like You: How the Very Rich Play at Being Very Ordinary
June 24, 2014
Historical Examples of sting
But this time there was a sting, of the sharpest, in the words themselves.Within the Law
It was the insult more than the pain; and from her—there was the sting of it.In the Midst of Alarms
He has through His death taken from death his sting, so that I have no cause to fear him more.Camps, Quarters and Casual Places
She met his gaze with a tenderness so great that the words lost all their sting.Tiverton Tales
She died of the sting, and was lost to him in the Underworld.Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew
Josephine Preston Peabody
- (of certain animals and plants) to inflict a wound on (an organism) by the injection of poison
- to feel or cause to feel a sharp mental or physical pain
- (tr) to goad or incite (esp in the phrase sting into action)
- (tr) informal to cheat, esp by overcharging
- a skin wound caused by the poison injected by certain insects or plants
- pain caused by or as if by the sting of a plant or animal
- a mental pain or panga sting of conscience
- a sharp pointed organ, such as the ovipositor of a wasp, by which poison can be injected into the prey
- the ability to stinga sharp sting in his criticism
- something as painful or swift of action as a stingthe sting of death
- a sharp stimulus or incitement
- botany another name for stinging hair
- slang a swindle or fraud
- slang a trap set up by the police to entice a person to commit a crime and thereby produce evidence
- sting in the tail an unexpected and unpleasant ending
Word Origin for sting
Old English stingan "to prick with a small point" (of weapons, insects, plants, etc.), from Proto-Germanic *stenganan (cf. Old Norse stinga, Old High German stungen "to prick," Gothic us-stagg "to prick out," Old High German stanga, German stange "pole, perch," German stengel "stalk, stem"), from PIE *stengh-, nasalized form of root *stegh- "to prick, sting" (cf. Old English stagga "stag," Greek stokhos "pointed stake"). Specialized to insects late 15c. Slang meaning "to cheat, swindle" is from 1812.
Old English stincg, steng "act of stinging, stinging pain," from the root of sting (v.). Meaning "carefully planned theft or robbery" is attested from 1930; sense of "police undercover entrapment" first attested 1975.
- To pierce or wound painfully with or as if with a sharp-pointed structure or organ, as that of certain insects.
- To introduce venom by stinging.
- To cause to feel a sharp smarting pain by or as if by pricking with a sharp point.
- The act of stinging.
- The wound or pain caused by or as if by stinging.
- The venom apparatus of a stinging organism.
see take the sting out of.